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2014 Matrix Mstage HPA2

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi guys

Just saw that a new m stage hpa2 has been released. Anyone has any opinions on them?

8th January 2014:
Received my order of my matrix mstage hpa2 (the non usb version). Order was placed on 17th December 2013 and arrived today 8th January 2014 (Australia).

I received the mstage box bubble wrapped. Packaging could be better, but nothing seems to be damaged or anything. It does come with a power cord. Gone are the gain switches now. Finishing wise it seems more glossy compared to my Audiolab Mdac and seems pretty well built. after half an hour, it does get much hotter than my mdac though.

Currently my gears are as follow:
Acer Netbook -> QED USB Cable -> Audiolab MDAC -> RCA cable (some local 18 bucks cable) -> Matrix Mstage HPA2 -> AKG Q701

This is my first impression I am writing as I am new to this hobby, so please bear with my simple review.

My impression when listening between Audiolab Mdac headphone out and Mstage HPA2 out is that i still prefer my mdac headphone out as compared to mstage hpa2. I bought it in anticipation that it would warm up my bright AKG Q701 but instead I am rather surprised to find that I actually prefer the bass definition of my MDAC.

When playing via the Mstage, it seems that the vocals are more upfront compared to the mdac and the mids are recessed. Mdac has a better overall balance for the sound which i like. For myself, it seems as though there is this focus on high and low in the mstage and lacking the mids.

In terms of transparency, i find that mstage clouds the sound a bit. Vocals I could feel it is more forward, bass was not as well defined as the mdac. At the same time, when playing some music I could hear some static background on the mstage and on the audiolab mdac, the sound is much cleaner.

I just recently purchased a sennheiser hd800 and will try it on that later. Now the focus is on AKG Q701. For myself again, hd800 is a different animal compared to AKG Q701 when I was listening on the mdac. HD800 seems smoother, bass was better just better in all ways I felt. AKG Q701 seems to have a certain harshness to it, hence the reason why I wanted to get the mstage.

Anyway, will update on my impression later on. This is my impression after listening to it for like 45 minutes biggrin.gif...
Edited by zting - 1/7/14 at 6:41pm
post #2 of 26

I assume it's pretty much of the sound of the classic M-stage with a few improvements. Hopefully someone joins the conversation and tell us more about it. 

post #3 of 26

If this model represents a big jump on SQ over the classic M-stage i'll be buying it! 

post #4 of 26

Aesthetically it looks pretty gorgeous for the price. Looks like Matrix took a page from the Xsabre a bit. Interested in hearing comparisons with the old ones as well.

 

-Daniel

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Me too. I am thinking whether ti would be a worthwhile upgrade over the built in amp on my new audiolab mdac. frown.gif

do you guys think i should buy it?
post #6 of 26
Ditto on wanting to hear some impressions...in the market for an amp for the 701's, I know the original made an excellent pairing. May have to spring for one if the HPA-2 proves even better.
post #7 of 26

So has anyone heard an HPA-2 yet then ??

post #8 of 26

Reading Amazon's description it seems like it identical to the m-Stage, other than cosmetics (which look fantastic in pics) and a better volume knob for the most part. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H4YU6EK/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0DFWVA8Q3D98MX318N5P&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1630083502&pf_rd_i=507846

 

The limited specs posted on Tam's site are identical-and the pricing doesn't suggest it's really a sonic upgrade either. That said it's still one of the best amps for the HD800 under a grand, and I'd gladly pay the very slight premium for the greatly improved cosmetics alone.

 

-Daniel

post #9 of 26
There's an ongoing mass drop for it, but still not really any impressions. I think the gain switches are gone.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Updated with my impression of the HPA2 :D

post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by zting View Post

Updated with my impression of the HPA2 biggrin.gif

It sounds like you are saying stick with the M-DAC headphone amp!

Doesn't surprise me, I own an M Stage and I've very briefly heard the M-DAC. I thought the M-DAC was better, but then the conditions were quite different., Different DAC, etc.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
I feel that way. It seems to me that mdac has better refinement. Bass as well is better defined but less emphasized.

on the matrix mstage the highs are very upfront.

At the moment I feel rather disappointed as I spent for no improvement.

I gave my friend a listen as well and he shares the same conclusion as me. When he first hears both of them, he commented that the highs were more upfront in the mstage than the mdac. Mdac seemed more bassy to him as well and is more refined, transparent compared to the mstage.
Edited by zting - 1/8/14 at 7:19am
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by zting View Post

I feel that way. It seems to me that mdac has better refinement. Bass as well is better defined but less emphasized.

on the matrix mstage the highs are very upfront.

At the moment I feel rather disappointed as I spent for no improvement.

I gave my friend a listen as well and he shares the same conclusion as me. When he first hears both of them, he commented that the highs were more upfront in the mstage than the mdac. Mdac seemed more bassy to him as well and is more refined, transparent compared to the mstage.

 

Thank you for posting.

I have an M Stage and was going to keep it and use it with my M-DAC when I buy my M-DAC.

Guess I may as well sell it now to raise money for the M-DAC.

 

I've never compared the M-DAC side by side with the M Stage, so I never had a very soild or well informed opinion.

When I heard the M-DAC it was using the DAC and amp  in the M-DAC.

 

I've used my M Stage with various DACs, but never together with an M-DAC.

 

I did think that my DT880 headphones sounded better thru the M-DAC headphone jack than thru the M Stage.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
You're welcome Chris.

I bought it because I had the impression that mstage dedicated amp is slightly better than the mdac from reading on the forums. Apparently not...
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
In terms of value wise, I see a much bigger upgrade going from mstage to the audiolab rather than upgrading from my akg q701 to hd800.
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